Cover Story

Phil Perry
By Brian Soergel

Phil Perry has always been busy. He's recorded music with the best, has released eight solo albums and is forever on the road. No wonder his favorite hobby is coming home

When you've been in the studio and on the road as long as Phil Perry has, there's not much time to enjoy hobbies. Instead, Perry welcomes the downtime with his wife and family. “When I'm not on the road or in the studio, I'm home,” said the 57-year-old. “I spend a lot of time away from home annually, so my hobby is getting back into the groove and living in my house with my family. It requires adjustment to be on the road as often as I am then to come back home and get in the swing of things.”
Fortunately for Perry, he won't have to travel too far this month when he performs at JazzFest West at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California, formerly known as the Old Pasadena JazzFest. He lives nearby in the Inland Empire town of Fontana. Perry will have his own set and also sing some tunes with the smooth jazz group Pieces of a Dream. “They're very good musicians,” Perry said, referring to Pieces leaders James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon. “I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be my first time performing at the park, and I've heard people express so much enthusiasm about the place and the festival.”

Perry, the veteran singer with an incredibly expressive vocal range––including an unforgettable falsetto––was a member of a group called The Montclairs in the early 1970s,, which formed in his hometown of St. Louis. They recorded a few albums, and Perry even released a CD with former bandmate Kevin Sanlin in 1980. But though the albums generally didn't receive much response, Perry would go on to make his mark in the studio and on stage. He was also prolific in songwriting, penning tunes for such artists as Aretha Franklin, Patti Austin, Noel Pointer, Najee and Bobby Caldwell. He became a background singer extraordinaire, performing with such artists as Anita Baker, Johnny Mathis, Rod Stewart, Deniece Williams, Boz Scaggs and Al Jarreau. Perry also found himself in the smooth jazz spotlight with his lead vocals, mostly with his association with guitarist Lee Ritenour, as well as with the Rippingtons, Gerald Albright, Hiroshima, Keiko Matsui and George Howard, to name a few.**

**The complete Phil Perry feature story can be found in the July issue of Smooth Jazz News. Pick up your free copy at our radio station affiliates (see radio station page for listings), various concerts, festivals and select Southern California outlets. Or you can subscribe and receive 11 editions of Smooth Jazz News per year, mailed monthly (except January), for $35. Click here to subscribe online today.

For more information on Perry, including his complete tour schedule, visit        
On Tour

July 18
JazzFest West
Bonelli Park
120 Via Verde Dr.
San Dimas, California
(949) 360-7800

Aug. 26
Smooth Cruises
Aboard the Spirit of New York
Chelsea Piers, board at Pier 61
23rd St. and the Westside Hwy.
New York, New York,
(866) 483-3866